If you are planning a trip to the capital over the next few days London has a new tour bus which may be of interest.
From typical open-top sightseeing tours to afternoon tea and cake buses. But the one thing they all have in common? They’re for humans.
Well now there’s a new tour bus player in town designed for a completely different audience - dogs.
That’s with the launch today (Monday, January 16) of the world’s first ever city tour bus for dogs, where every element of the experience caters to man’s best friend.
Created by MORE TH>N, the bus tour invites owners and their dogs to experience a whistle-stop sightseeing experience of London like no other.
The carefully crafted bus route sees dogs taken to some of London’s best parks and city centre dog walking spots, including Hyde Park, Kensington Palace Gardens and Green Park.
Along the way, live onboard commentary for dog owners lifts the lid on London’s rich canine history, including the ministerial dogs of Downing Street, the many corgis that have shared Buckingham Palace with the Queen and the location of London’s only dog cemetery.
The route itself centres on a number of London’s most scenic dog-walking hotspots, including Hyde Park and Green Park, for owners to disembark the bus and take their pooch for a stroll if they choose. Guests will also be provided with a handy leaflet mapping dog-friendly pubs, bars and restaurants in the area, where owner and dog can refuel together post-walk
Over the course of the hour-long route, the customised London Routemaster, aptly numbered the K9, will also drive past an array of points of interest with a connection to dogs in the city, with expert insight provided throughout by the onboard commentator.
So rather than run-of-the-mill information that usually comes with London bus tours, like what year the Tower of London was built or how many times Big Ben strikes in a year, instead as you drive past Downing Street, you might hear: “Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Welsh Terrier, Rex, and Daschund, Oscar, were recently pictured posing outside No. 11 for the annual Christmas card. They join a long line of dogs that have dwelled at numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street. Other ministerial dogs that have on the iconic road include Geoffrey Howe’s Jack Russell called Budget, Winston Churchill’s pet poodle Rufus and post-war Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s dog Ting.”
Or as the bus whistles past Buckingham Palace you might be informed: “Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign and currently has one named Willow. Three of her Corgis even made an appearance when James Bond (portrayed by Daniel Craig) arrived at Buckingham Palace to escort the Queen to London 2012 opening ceremony.”
The tour bus for dogs embarks on a figure of eight route around Hyde Park, Kensington Palace and Green Park.
Points of Interest on the tour include:
1. Victoria Tower Gardens: Located next to the Houses of Parliament, Victoria Tower Gardens are home to the annual Westminster Dog of the Year show, where MPs from across the country bring their dogs to the capital to compete for the heavily sought after prize. Started in 1992, in recent years it has been a case of Tory domination, with MPs from the party winning eight of the past nine competitions until 2016.
2. Houses of Parliament: The Houses of Parliament have been the location for numerous dog-related laws and rules that play an important part in our society today. There are currently 24 Acts of Parliament relating solely to dogs and a further 11 relating to animals in general. The most recent one to come to fruition was the 2016 Dog Microchipping Legislation which saw all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales become legally required to be microchipped and their details registered on one of the authorised databases.
3. Buckingham Palace: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famed for being the preferred breed of Queen Elizabeth II. She has owned more than 30 during her reign and currently has one named Willow. Three of her Corgis made an appearance when James Bond (portrayed by Daniel Craig) arrived at Buckingham Palace to escort the Queen to the 2012 London Olympics. There is a Queen Mother Memorial on The Mall that shows her with two corgis.
4. Hyde Park: Henry VIII, whose favourite pets were his dogs, acquired Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536, and he could often be seen hunting deer there. During his reign, he owned beagles, spaniels and greyhounds. Hyde Park is also home to a secret pet cemetery that was started in 1881 by Mr Winbridge, a gatekeeper at Victoria Lodge, who started burying dog’s in the lodge’s garden. The first dog to be buried there was a Maltese Terrier called Cherry who died of old age and whose owners used to visit the Hyde Park regularly and were friends of Mr Winbridge.
5. Kensington Palace and Gardens: Kensington Palace is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Like the Queen, Kate and William are dog owners and have a family dog, a black cocker spaniel called Lupo. Kate let slip the name of the dog at a visit to a primary school in Oxford in 2014. Before then, the name of the dog was a carefully guarded secret. The name Lupo means ‘wolf’ in Italian.
6. The Kennel Club: The Kennel Club is the official kennel club of the United Kingdom and the oldest recognised Kennel Club in the world. The club was originally set up by Sewallis E Shirley in 1859 as he was frustrated that there were no consistent rules for dog shows. Now, the club also acts as a lobbying group for issues surrounding dogs in the UK. The Kennel Club houses the largest collection of dog art.
7. Downing Street: Ministerial Dogs that have lived at 10 and 11 Downing Street include Geoffrey Howe’s Jack Russell Budget, Winston Churchill’s pet poodle Rufus, post-war Prime Minister Clement Attlee and his dog Ting and former Chancellor George Osbourne’s dog, Lola.
And park disembarking points to take your dogs for a walk are:
1. Hyde Park Corner
2. Hyde Park Place
3. Kensington Palace Green
4. Green Park
The bus tour has been created by MORE TH>N DOGGYSSENTI>LS to launch its new service, a total pet care and protection offering that provides all the essential items for a happy and healthy dog, delivered direct to your door each month. Membership comes with pet insurance from MORE TH>N and an innovative activity monitor that tracks a dog’s exercise levels and activity.
To celebrate the launch, every dog owner joining the bus tour will be gifted a travel-size version of the MORE TH>N DOGGYSSENTI>LS box, containing treats and dog walking balls.
Steve Jay at MORE TH>N DOGGYSSENTI>LS said: “London is a city famed for its fascinating history and rich culture, much of which man’s best friend has been heavily involved in. The K9 Bus Tour aims to celebrate this often underappreciated fact, while also providing owners with a fun and unique way to spend time entertaining their beloved pet.
“Every month with MORE TH>N DOGGYSSENTI>LS, we deliver the right amount of quality food, dental chews, preventative tick & flea treatments, accessories & not forgetting insurance. Above and beyond this, we want to provide owners with some fun and inspirational ways to use these items. The tour bus for dogs sets out to do just this, encouraging owners to get out there with their dogs and make the most of the items in their monthly box to ensure their dogs are always as happy and healthy as possible.”
Beginning and ending at Millbank, near the Tate Britain, the MORE TH>N K9 Bus Tour will run three times a day (departing at 10am, 12pm and 2pm) for four days between Monday, January 16, and Thursday, January 19, 2017. To reserve a space for you and your dog, please visit www.billetto.co.uk.